One of the summer construction projects in the Wawasee Community School Corp. was fully enclosing the media center within Wawasee Middle School. It was paid for out of the capital projects fund within the school corporation budget.
New interior doors were installed as well as windows all around the media center.
At the time WMS opened in the early 1990s, a decision was made to design the school in an open concept including the media center, or library, as well as the cafeteria and other areas in the building. But some teachers did not like the concept and eventually fulling enclosing it was put on the waiting list of capital projects.
Heather Clevenger, librarian for the elementary and middle schools in the Wawasee district, said too much noise was created within the library between periods when students filled the hallways going from class to class. Or if one class moved to another spot within the building during a class period.
Some students also came to the conclusion the library was a shortcut to get to their next class.
But enclosing it has made a difference, Clevenger noted. “It creates a completely different atmosphere,” she said. “It is more of a library atmosphere. It feels more like you would expect a public library to be.”
Students mainly use the library during the advisory time first thing in the morning. They also come at other times of the day to check books in or out, do Accelerated Reader testing, research for a class project and more. Entire classes sometimes use the library to access computers for testing or a research project. “Teachers send students throughout the day as needed,” she added.
Clevenger said she feels enclosing the media center has helped students be more focused on what they’re doing.
Other summer work at WMS included modifying the alternative to suspensions and expulsions room, installing new HVAC units capable of providing air conditioning in the gym and upgrading duct work. Motion sensors were installed in the hallways to reduce hallway lighting after normal school hours and the back driveway was repaved.